The Land Rover series i land rover was built during a time of economic hardship in Britain. With a steel shortage that was reserved for military use, the company was forced to redesign the body and utilize aluminum. The result was an incredibly sturdy and rust-free vehicle that is one of the defining features of Defenders today!
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Designed as a dual-purpose off-road and commuter vehicle, the Series I was conceived to provide basic transportation during tough times in Britain. The vehicle was designed to only be in production for a couple of years to generate some cash flow and export orders to help the Rover Company restart up-market car production.
This design was very successful and would go on to lead to the creation of a wide range of off-road vehicles. Despite its simple engineering, the Series I was designed to be versatile and hardy, with a range of uses in agricultural and light industrial settings- it’s this versatility that has made it an iconic design icon.
A number of different versions were available for the Series I, all featuring a unique front axle layout. It was designed with a freewheel unit that disengaged the front wheel from the manual transmission in the event of an overrun.
The front axle was then locked via a ring-pull mechanism in the driver’s footwell to provide more conventional 4WD. The Series I was also the first Rover to have a fully synchronized gearbox, with the rear axle gears being linked together.